More Filipinos Are Googling 'Ivermectin' and 'Oxygen Tanks' Than 'Vaccine Registrations'

It could be a sign of people’s warped priorities.

Filipinos seem to be more interested about Ivermectin than finding out how to get vaccinated against COVID-19, if the results of a new study are to be believed. 

According to a study by meta search platform iPrice, there were 224,110 searches for ‘Ivermectin’ in March 2021, a 687 percent increase versus the previous month, and a 2,207 percent increase from November 2020. Ivermectin is the anti-parasitic drug commonly used on animals that has become much sought after in many parts of the world, including the Philippines, for supposedly being effective against COVID-19.

Photo by iPrice.

Compare that with the 1,430 Google searches for “vaccine registration” and we get a sense of our countrymen’s priorities.

Ivermectin has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  although the agency has begun the process of registration of the drug for human use. The FDA has also granted one specific hospital a “compassionate use” permit to use Ivermectin on patients, citing ongoing clinical trials.

Photo by iPrice.

The United States of America’s FDA, likewise, has not approved Ivermectin for use for COVID-19 patients. 

Meanwhile, Google searches for “oxygen tanks” seem to be following the trajectory of Ivermectin, surging 115 percent in March 2021 compared to the month before. According to iPrice, searches for oxygen tanks reached an all-time high of 39,160 throughout the year (from March 2020 to March 2021). 

Photo by iPrice.
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Based on current data, searches on oxygen tanks have also been rising in the first week of April, which might see a 376 percent surge in searches compared to March.

The Department of Health has already released a statement to the public warning against unprescribed at-home use of oxygen tank. According to the DOH, not only can it be harmful, it could lead to a shortage for hospitals and healthcare facilities that need them the most.

Photo by iPrice.

The Philippines has seen an alarming trend of record-high number of daily coronavirus cases in recent weeks, with more than 158,000 active cases to date.

According to iPrice, the huge divide between people searching for vaccine registrations and those searching for Ivermectin and oxygen tanks is alarming as it could be a sign of the difficulties of achieving herd immunity in the days and weeks ahead.

“Based on the numbers, there is a dire need to provide sufficient information on COVID-19 vaccines to the Filipino population,” iPrice said in its report.


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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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